Trailer Park Kids
As a family we moved a lot, in fact we lived in six small towns before I was ten. We then moved to the big city of Winnipeg and even being there didn’t allow us to grow roots that took. We lived in four more homes in different neighbourhoods from grade four to seven. That’s when we found ourselves living in a mobile home trailer park.
This wasn’t one of those trailer parks you see in the movies that are raided by the police, ending in gun fire and some junkie being hauled away in a body bag. This one had young families, retired folks, and lots of kids. Even though the trailer park was located in the city, it was isolated, bus service was limited, and the nearest store was about a twenty minute walk. We had to take a bus to school. Over time the city developed around the trailer park, but for those years in the late 70’s into the 80’s we were our own community.
We had an outdoor pool, it was small, but it was a nice place to cool off in the hot summer. There was always kids and young families hanging around the pool.
The tennis courts weren’t used for tennis much, we used them for skateboarding and biking and a version of Rollerball that should have sent most of us to the hospital. Some would bike around the courts while others would kick out their boards into the wheels of the bikes. Should have been hospital bound.
Out front we had a couple of baseball fields. After school or on the weekends it was never too hard to find enough kids to get a game started of touch football, pop up 500, or a baseball game. You could get a group together for a night of board games that sometimes turned into a weekend marathon and someone would have to sacrifice their dining room for a couple of days.
One side of the park had a number of gardens that were a personal challenge for our ninja skills. Once the sun went down, we would dress up in our darkest clothes and head out for some garden raiding.
Behind the park was a wooded area and an area that was used for dumping soil which made great biking trails. This was a great area to explore and target practice for pellet guns.
There was also a meeting hall where we held teen dances.
This was where we learned to drive and how to hood surf, sometimes we did find our way to the hospital.
For a lot of us, our first jobs were found there, babysitting for one of the neighbors.
We made new friends, we made life long friends and we buried friends too soon.
This was the place where many of us found our first love and for some, our last love.
We would walk around the park in our groups or riding our bike or sitting around one of the hilled green spaces discussing life.
We hung out until the lights came on and then gathered at the playground before heading home.
You could walk the streets at night without fear.
This was where a group of kids came together and found a connection through sports, games and friendships. We shared first experiences together, heartaches and good times. There was no internet, no cell phones, no game consoles. What we had was our friends.
To this day when I run into someone in the mall or online from that time, the trailer park comes up in the conversation and it is always animated, jumping from story to story sometimes barely finishing one story before starting another.
This was a time and place that had connected so many, even though many of us have moved across the world now, this time and place will be ours that we will always share.